Thursday, April 17, 2014
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2014.04.17 01:27:02

Jordan's airforce hit and destroyed military vehicles trying to cross from Syria, Jordanian state television said on Wednesday.

"The Royal Airforce destroyed a number of military vehicles which tried to cross the Jordanian-Syrian border," the television said, without giving more details. [Reuters]

  Syria | Jordan
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2014.04.17 01:25:52

An Egyptian court sentenced 119 supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood of former president Mohamed Morsi to three years each in prison on Wednesday in connection with protests last October against his overthrow, judicial sources said.

More than 50 people were killed in the October 6 protests called by Morsi supporters.

Judge Hazem Hashad acquitted six people in the case. They faced charged including unlawful assembly and thuggery.


  Egypt | Muslim Brotherhood | Mohamed Morsi
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2014.04.17 01:24:30

Activists say that Syrian airstrikes have killed at least four people in the town of Zabadani, one of the last rebel-held towns on the Lebanese border.

Activist Ammar al-Hassan says the strike occurred early on Wednesday, Associated Press reported. He says shelling also had increased on the town lying in the rugged hills of the Qalamoun region. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported on the strikes.

Zabadani protrudes into the Bekaa Valley in eastern Lebanon. The town and the nearby community of Madaya are effectively the last rebel strongholds in the Qalamoun, serving as an opposition supply route. [AP]

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2014.04.17 01:05:23

Ukraine's acting Defense Minister Mykhailo Koval has left for the separatist east of the country to check on the  progress of his forces' push against pro-Kremlin insurgents, a top cabinet official said.

"The defense minister went to the scene and will later report what is happening there," news agencies quoted First Deputy Prime Minister Vitaliy Yarema as telling a cabinet meeting on Wednesday. [AFP]

  Ukraine | Russia
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2014.04.17 01:04:17

Ukraine's defense ministry has claimed that pro-Russian militants had taken two of its soldiers "hostage" in the  separatist eastern region of Lugansk.

The ministry said on Wednesday that an officer and a soldier were seized by "extremists" on Tuesday and taken to an unknown destination after they pulled over to repair their vehicle.

It said several branches of Ukraine's armed forces were involved in a search for the missing soldiers, and vowed a "firm response" against those who attack Ukrainian troops. [AFP]

  Ukraine | Russia
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2014.04.17 01:03:22

About 20 pro-Russian protesters armed with Kalashnikov rifles entered the mayor's office in Ukraine's eastern industrial city of Donetsk, an AFP correspondent reported.

The men, who met no resistance from the building's security personnel, said on Wednesday that their only demand was for the heavily Russified region to stage a referendum on  turning Ukraine into a federation with broader local rights. [AFP]

  Ukraine | Russia
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2014.04.17 01:02:27

Armored vehicles bearing the Russian flag have driven through the eastern Ukraine town of Kramatorsk and the city of Slovyansk, a day after authorities in Kiev launched an operation to oust pro-Moscow separatists.

Dozens of armed men in camouflage were seated on top of the three vehicles as they drove through Kramatorsk accompanied by a military truck on Wednesday, according to Agence France Presse news agency.

The Associated Press is also reporting that six combat vehicles flying Russian flags rolled into Slovyansk, and were "enthusiastically greeted" at pro-Russian checkpoints outside the city.

  Ukraine | Russia
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2014.04.17 01:00:42

Lugansk in eastern Ukraine has tightened security measures after a new wave of unrest erupted in Ukraine's east over last weekend.

Pro-Russia activists seized several government buildings in the eastern cities of Lugansk, Donetsk and Kharkov, demanding a referendum on autonomy and closer ties with Russia.

With a population of around 240,000, Lugansk is an industrial center in Ukraine. Most of local residents work in coal- or steel-producing plants.

Situations in the city was generally stable as of Tuesday, with pro-Russia and pro-Ukraine residents holding peaceful rallies respectively to express their political appeals. [AP]

  Ukraine | Russia
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2014.04.16 08:44:58

Two bomb blasts have wounded at least five people in the Egyptian capital.

Two police officers and a civilian were wounded in an attack on Tuesday that blew the roof off a shelter manned by traffic police at a busy intersection in the Dokki neighborhood.

A second bombing wounded two people in western Cairo, according to a security source, who declined to indicate whether the injured were civilians or members of the security forces.

Egypt has been rocked by a series of bombings and shootings since July, when the military ousted Hosni Mubarak.


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2014.04.16 08:44:13

The liberal Constitution Party will hold a press conference on Wednesday to announce its stance regarding Egypt's upcoming presidential elections, state-run Ahram online reported.

On Monday, a source speaking on the condition of anonymity told Ahram Online that the party will likely announce its support for Hamdeen Sabahi's candidacy during Wednesday's conference.

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2014.04.16 08:42:58

Former Egyptian finance minister Youssef Boutros Ghali was arrested in France this week on an international warrant over corruption charges from his time in Hosni Mubarak's government, the French foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

Boutros Ghali was sentenced in absentia to 30 years in prison for corruption and abuse of power following the uprising that unseated Mubarak in 2011. He was one of a group of influential economic policymakers close to Mubarak's son Gamal. [Reuters]

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2014.04.16 08:41:45

France has said it will table a proposal  before the United Nations Security Council authorizing the International Criminal Court to investigate crimes against humanity in Syria, according to France's ambassador to the UN.

Gerard Araud said on Tuesday that France hoped to introduce the resolution in the next few weeks, after a presentation to council members showed thousands of gruesome photographs of starved and tortured detainees in prisons run by the Syrian regime.

"We are going to try to obtain authorization for the ICC to act," Araud said. "We now have proof," he added.


  Syria | France
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2014.04.16 08:15:13

Russia's president, Vladimir Putin has warned the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, that Ukraine is lurching towards a state of war. The leaders were discussing in a telephone conversation forthcoming international talks on the crisis.

"The Russian president remarked that the sharp escalation of the conflict has placed the country, in effect, on the verge of civil war," the Kremlin said in a statement after the conversation.

But the leaders both "emphasized the importance" of the planned four-way talks on Ukraine on Thursday between top diplomats of Russia, the European Union, the United States and Ukraine.

We'll be publishing our new lead story on the events in the next few minutes.

  Ukraine | Russia
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2014.04.16 08:14:15

In this video, General Vasily Krutov, the Ukraine commander in Kramatorsk, is seen urging a group of pro-Russians to disperse. They take his microphone from him and repeatedly surround him chanting. A shot is heard at 6m 47s, with more at about 8m 35s. According to journalist Alec Luhn, two people were injured.

The video was posted to Youtube by the local news site, on April 15.

  Ukraine | Russia
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2014.04.16 08:11:46

This video, posted on Youtube by reportedly shows a fighter jet flying over the airport in Kramatorsk, north of Donetsk, on April 15. Local reports said an unidentified jet was fired on while trying to land, and flew away, and that aircraft had then strafed the area. This footage shows planes flying over the airport with a pro-Russian group visible in balaclavas.

The plane's silhouette resembles a Sukhoi Su-25, a ground support aircraft.

  Ukraine | Russia
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2014.04.16 08:09:30

A list of government buildings occupied by pro-Russian armed men in Ukraine's eastern cities:

Donetsk: Regional government building occupied

Slovyansk: Police station and security service buildings occupied

Kramatorsk: Police station evacuated, airfield cleared, but the city council still occupied

Horlivka: Police station occupied

Artemivsk: No buildings are seized, but the mayor let protesters put a flag of the "Donetsk Republic" on the city council as a compromise

Luhansk: Security service building occupied

  Ukraine | Russia
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2014.04.16 08:08:14

Ukraine’s former Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko, who is running for president with the Batkivshchina (Fatherland) party has announced the formation of the national resistance movement.

“Law enforcement structures and the army are failing to cope with their tasks because they have been plundered,” Batkivshchina’s press service quoted Timoshenko as saying on Tuesday. “That is why it is necessary to form special brigades in each city. Mobilization centres will be set up on the basis of our party’s offices, where everyone will be able to join people’s volunteer corps.”

Such brigades, according to Timoshenko, are already being formed in the Kharkov, Zaporozhye and Dnetpropetrovsk regions.


  Ukraine | Russia
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2014.04.16 02:45:06

France's ambassador says the members of the UN Security Council fell silent after viewing a series of ghastly photographs of dead Syrian civil war victims. The pictures show people who were emaciated, with their bones protruding, and some bearing the marks of strangulation.

Ambassador Gerard Araud says the pall of silence lingered, and then questions slowly began about the credibility of the slides of the dead, who offer mute testimony to the savagery of a Syrian civil war in which more than 150,000 have died.


  Syria | France
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2014.04.16 02:16:51

Russian President Vladimir Putin told UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday that the United Nations and the international community should condemn the use of force by the Ukrainian authorities in eastern Ukraine, the Kremlin said.

In a telephone conversation with Ban, Putin "underscored that the Russian side expects a clear condemnation from the United Nations and the international community of these anti-constitutional actions", a Kremlin statement said. [Reuters]

A statement issued by the UN said: "The Secretary-General expressed his alarm about the highly volatile situation in eastern Ukraine and underlined that any deepening of the crisis would be profoundly detrimental for all concerned; hence the need for everyone to work to de-escalate the situation."

  Ukraine | Russia
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2014.04.16 02:15:49

Shots are being fired at the airdrome near the city of Kramatorsk, Donetsk Oblast, and one fighter plane has been shot down, witnesses report from the scene.

As follows from what the people say four fighter planes, presumably Sukhoi-27 were hovering over Kramatorsk. At a certain point they opened fire at the local airdrome. Who commanded the planes and who downed the fighter remains unclear. Witnesses claim there have been casualties at the airdrome. An ambulance is on the way to the scene.

Earlier, a Ukrainian daily reported with reference to witnesses that shots and explosions were heard at the military airdrome near the city of Kramatorsk.

According to the website of the daily Novosti Kramatorska, a military aircraft circled over the airdrome for a while.

“Witnesses say it was a MiG-25 or Sukhoi-27 plane. It was flying at a very low altitude,” the paper said.


  Ukraine | Russia
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